Emilio Choo is a Singaporean wheelchair basketball player, and he shares how this sport has impacted his life in many ways. Choo had played basketball before his spinal cord injury, and had loved the game. So he decided to give it a go post-injury as well.
“Because I played basketball before, ball handling was not that difficult. It’s just how to play in the chair that took me some time to get used to.”
One thing Choo wants people to know is that wheelchair basketball is not as dangerous or rough as some people think; it is actually a very controlled and precise sport. That doesn’t mean there isn’t physical contact or that they players don’t occasionally take spills.
“[The falls] actually toughen us up, they actually make us feel more confident and stronger in terms of our own physical capability and disability."
The benefits of playing
Participating in wheelchair basketball has helped improve Choo’s upper body strength. The hoop in wheelchair basketball is at the same height as traditional basketball. This means wheelchair basketball players are shooting from a lower height, and therefore are forced to train their upper body strength to compensate.
Another benefit Choo gets from wheelchair basketball is increased balance in his core.
”I’m a paraplegic and I have very bad waist balance. But playing this game actually helps me because I start to control my torso better and I actually understand where is my balancing point now.”
Basketball has also served to bolster Choo’s attitude and outlook following his injury.
“I think that’s the biggest lesson for me and that’s how it actually helped me personally as well, to help me overcome my own fear and my own uncertainty because of my injury."
What sport has helped you improve both physically and mentally? Share your story, and you might be featured on AbleThrive!